Sean Gaffney Dominates JBRL Round 4

(words and photos by Sean Gaffney)

Round #4 of the JBRL Nitro series rolled into Hesperia, CA at Green Flag Raceway over the 4th of July weekend.  Over 140 racers came out to experience the RC fireworks!  Super Dave and the awesome Green Flag track crew worked hard over the past 6 months to sift out all the large rocks from the dirt and the result was a unique surface that was much easier on racers’ equipment than years past.  The technical layout was challenging, with lap times in the 40 sec range, but it was flowing and fun.

Practice

My Dad and I drove out Friday morning to get some practice on the layout and figure out what tires would work.  I typically don’t run at this track, so I brought every Pro-Line tire I had just in case.  As luck would have it, the track began to develop a bit of a groove mid-day Friday, and with the temps around 90 degrees, I needed a harder compound. Fortunately, my Pro-Line teammate Adam Drake came to the rescue with a set of XTR Calibers. These were some old tires, but to my surprise, they were really good!  I made one small setup change and then left it alone for Saturday’s race.

Truggy

Qualifying got off to an early start Saturday morning.  It was interesting because the track was completely different than how it was Friday afternoon/evening.  The groove was gone and the surface was much softer.  Truggy was up first and I went out on M3 VTR Holeshots and they were great, just the right amount of forward and side bite.  My ST-RR Evo felt as good as ever, and I set the TQ time for round one.

I didn’t change my ST-RR Evo setup for the second round since it felt so good, and stayed with the M3 VTR Holeshots as I wanted to gauge tire wear for the main.  I didn’t have my cleanest run ever but ran a near identical time to my first round time and secured the overall TQ for truggy.  The tire wear was virtually non-existent on a dry track, so I knew the M3 VTR Holeshots were good to go for the main.

As the truggy main drew closer, the track surface became very challenging in some sections, meaning you had to avoid the holes.  I watched a few mains before mine and got a good idea of where I needed to be on the track.  I got a great start in the truggy main and ran nearly mistake-free for the first 15 minutes.  My ST-RR Evo handled the rough track well, and the M3 VTR Holeshots were ideal for the conditions and showed virtually no wear after the 25 minute main.  I ended up putting 2 laps on the field and cruised to victory.

Buggy

The track surface remained soft as they watered after every even numbered race, so I decided to go with M3 Holeshot 2.0 for my first buggy qualifier.  I made a mistake on the back straight on the second lap and was upside down for awhile.  I thought my chances of TQ-ing the round were gone, but after two more laps I heard Jimmy say I was only 3 seconds back of the TQ pace – time to strap it up!  I had a very clean track for the last few laps, and laid down 3 clean laps in a row to take the TQ by 3 seconds.  I was pleased to see my final 3 laps were in the 39 second range, which were the fastest laps in either the open or pro class.

I experimented a little bit with my Kyosho MP9 TKI3 for the second qualifier. The track started to really chunk in places and was pretty blown out, so I decided to try M3 Blockade. I was on an early pace that was 7 seconds faster than my TQ time of Rd 1, but a costly mistake pushed my time back some.  I ended up running a near identical time to my 1st round time on a much more difficult surface, and wrapped up the TQ for buggy.  I was the only driver in my class to get 8 laps in the second round.

The buggy main was run under the lights, and I was debating between M3 and M4 Holeshot 2.0s, and decided on M3s as I felt if the track dried out some, they would be the better compound.  However, just before the main started, the track crew laid down a heavy dose of water on the track, leaving some puddles in some sections.  I struggled some early on in the main but never relinquished the lead.  Right after the first pit stop at about 8:30, the track was finally dry enough that my car began to hook up.  What was only a 5 second lead over second place quickly grew to 30 seconds, and as the race ended, I had a lap on the field.  My car felt so good once the track dried out, and was literally perfect for the conditions.  Even on the buggy, the M3 Holeshot 2.0 again had no noticeable wear after 25 minutes of hard driving. Very impressive in my opinion.

Wrap-up

So far in the JBRL series this year, I have TQ’d every round of truggy qualifying (8 total rounds in 4 races), and only missed the TQ in one round of qualifying in buggy (7 out of 8 rounds in 4 races).  I have won all 8 mains at JBRL so far this year in the Intermediate class.

The unsung heroes of the weekend were my Orion CRF King Edition 5 port engines, my 2058 pipe (buggy), my 2013 pipe (truggy), Byron’s Fuel, and Lucky7 filters.  I say unsung because the chassis and tires sometimes get all the glory, but the engine/pipe/fuel/filter combo is so critical to having a consistent tune and performance throughout the day.  I’m extremely happy with this combination, and want to thank Team Orion, Byron Fuels, and Lucky7 for putting out some amazingly consistent products that take the guess work out of the critical parts of my race program.

Special thanks go out to Jimmy Babcock and his crew for putting on another awesome event. Thanks to Super Dave and the Green Flag track crew for their hard work in bringing us racers a tough and technical layout.  Thanks to Adam Drake for the set of tires on Friday.  A big thanks to Kyosho America, and Joe Pillars for all their help and support getting me the parts I need to stay competitive, and to Tim Clark, Daniel Adams, and the whole Pro-Line team for their continued efforts on bringing the most competitive tire/foam/wheel package to market. Lastly of course thanks to my Dad, and also Cody and Paul King for their support as well!

Round 5 of the JBRL Nitro series heads down south to ARC in Temecula on August 4th, and I’m looking forward to this one for sure. – Sean

Lewis Jones Neobuggy 2012 Report

WEDNESDAY

I am looking forward to the KYOSHO barbecue at the Cradock’s house. I will meet the world champion Cody King and his dad Paul.

Everyone is at the Cradock’s house Elliott, Chris, Stewart and all the team. Cody is being very nice to me and the food is great, ‘ALL YOU CAN HANDLE BRO’.  My sister and her friends are in the hot tub having fun as the adults are drinking and still eating the food.

We are on our way home now mummy is driving as dad drank too much beer!

THURSDAY

We are on our way to the Neobuggy race now. We just picked up Taro from the Cradock’s house as they don’t have much room as Cody bought too much stuff. 30 minutes from the track now, Taro is playing on the ipad as I write my blog about Neo 2012.

We arrived at the track and it’s basically a great big Cow shed and it’s big really big. We can’t get inside yet, so we have put up the Gazebo so we built the barbecue ready for tomorrow. We have set up our pit area and I’m pitting next to Cody King, he’s really nice and talks to me a lot. The track looks amazing it’s my type of track!

The hotel is nice and there is a restaurant opposite. We are at the Premier Inn lobby and Cody and Elliott are admiring each others beauty! Cody keeps looking at the vending machine which is full of chocolate.

We ate at the restaurant; Elliott had a chicken and bacon sandwich. They do very nice orange juice and Chris has a very nice Purple T-shirt on!! People keep asking him if he’s going to the prom!

I am going to bed now, the bed is so comfortable. I hope I get a good night sleep before racing starts tomorrow.

FRIDAY

We have just got up and having breakfast, Cody is wearing the same top he came to England in (dad told me he has lots of tops the same). Cody tried Crumpets for his breakfast.

At the track and everyone is working on their cars. Dad is doing his then he will do mine. I have new Blue KYOSHO stickers which I have put on my shell so it is all bling! Paul KING is putting new parts on Cody’s car so he will go faster. Jared TEBO is sat near us to.

Well I just raced my first ever race at Neo. I was in the same heat as my dad. I beat him I came 10th and he came 12th. My dad has to marshal, I don’t as I’m too young as you have to be over 12 to marshal in England. I hope I beat him next time but he got a faster lap than me.

My second race and I came 12th and my dad finished 10th. I was having trouble with the jumps at the end of the straight but Cody told me how to do them so I am much faster now with a 41s lap. Thank you Cody.

Practice is finished for the day I came 218th, Cody King 7th and Elliott 16th. The track is hard but the Kyosho team are helping me get faster. My dad is worried that I will beat him and he will have to give up racing!

SATURDAY

Well it’s raining today. Just checked the heat listing and I am in heat 2 and my dad is in heat 5. Elliott is in 15 and Cody is in 16 as they are very fast. It’s still raining but its ok as we are racing indoors and won’t get wet.

After my 1st round today I beat my dad’s fastest lap by .2 second. He is getting really worried now and everyone is laughing. Cody and Elliott are both doing really well as is Tebo. Everyone is getting very tired.

I have got my lap times down under 40 seconds now which I am happy with but my dad is faster but I’m not far behind now.

At the restaurant I had scampi. Cody had a burger again! We our teaching him an English accent and he keeps saying ‘you alright mate’ which is very funny as he says it all the time and very loud. Cody and Paul are really nice and I like driving the kyosho car, it’s the best team ever.

SUNDAY

We have two more rounds of qualifying today. My final will be today and the lower finals are after we finish racing. My dad will be today too as he’s not doing so great.

I just raced my 1st round today and finished 5th in my heat. Dad did not finish as he broke his car. Dad is going to use my new Futaba controller as he does not like his old one.

In my last race I got down to a 38.5 lap which is my fastest so far. Dad got a 37.2 and went faster than me as he got 11 laps. I almost got disqualified because the person who was marshalling for me forgot. Elliott spoke to them and sorted it out and explained it wasn’t my fault. Thanks Elliott.

I just raced my final and I came 1st. It was great Cody and Elliott were marshalling and my dad and Stewart Wilcox were pitting, great job guys. All the team and my friends were there to cheer me on. I have now bumped up into my dads final. He is now feeling under a lot of pressure as he starts 7th and I am 12th.

We just raced the final and dad came 3rd and I came 9th. He bumped up so he is in the next race. Cody said that my driving is good for my age and my dad was very proud of me because I came 1st in my first ever race at Neo and he had never done that before. My best lap was a 37.3.

MONDAY

I missed my tea last night as I wasn’t very well after my finals. I had to go to bed. My mummy looked after me though. My dad celebrated for me with the rest of the team!.

Cody is racing today so I am going to watch him and learn from him so next time I will be able to beat my dad the next time I race with him. My dad is helping Paul pit for Cody. He is really happy about that. Cody is so fast, that’s how I want to drive when I get older. I have walked around the pits and got all the best drivers to sign my MP9 shell. Cody was the first to sign it. I had a picture taken with the pit girls!

I watched all the finals with my mum as dad was still helping Paul as Cody was in the final. Cody was unlucky in the main and had a bad start. Tebo won it as the Kyosho is the best car. Elliott finshed 7th and Cody 11th. Well done Team Kyosho.

NEO 2012 is over

THANK YOU

I had a great time and I hope to race at next years Neo. Thank you mum and dad for letting me race. Thank you to the Cradock and the Boots for making it fun. I made great friends with Cody and Paul and really miss them alot. I hope that they come to the Kyosho Masters in France in June as I will be racing against my dad.

Thanks you everyone for being so nice to me, your friend Lewis JONES aged 10.

Antics of the Kyosho Team – by Taro Cradock

We are here at the Neobuggy race, and the Kyosho team is really quite fun. The drivers talk about their positions overall and what setups they want to apply to go faster around this tricky track, while in the background the cars are revving to warm up for their next heat. The racers wives make the food for the drivers remembering who has the ketchup in the bacon sandwich, and who wants the cheese baguette.

The Kyosho tables at neo are a very cheerful place, and a serious place at the same time. Every body is bench racing about their cars and making jokes about the other teams. When the racing is over at the end of the day, the Cradocks are trying to get Cody an English (British) accent. We eat out at the beefeater grill, we laugh and joke and go on the internet for interesting car sounds or some weird things that you don’t want to hear. lol

On the way here today there was a lady that was going 30mph in a 40 zone, so Cody put his head out the window and shouted GET A MOVE ON JAN!!! We have a lot of fun in the Kyosho team. – TC